Connecting Elliott Broidy Related Dots — Offshore and On — Some Russian — Some Not
Elliott Broidy was a major Republican fundraiser for the RNC and the Presidential Inaugural committee who now finds himself at the confluence of money and scandal embroiling folks close to Trump, even threatening to engulf the Donald himself. Broidy has likely come into Special Counsel Mueller’s focus given his entanglement with Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer, and association with George Nader, a longtime Washington lobbyist with deep Middle Eastern connections. Should the glare of a powerful investigative spotlight shine on Broidy’s financial and political contacts, it is possible that some connecting dots could turn into dominoes. Broidy has turned State’s witness once before in a New York State pay-to-play scheme in 2009, involving his Israeli-based Investment company Markstone Capital. Should it happen again, there are some very interesting potential areas of investigative interest for Mueller’s team to scrutinize. Some financial targets of opportunity would likely encompass Middle Eastern, Russian, and African money connections, as well as potential prohibited foreign political contributions.
Broidy Capital Management has allegedly invested in among other things, privately held defense contracting companies involved in sensitive counterterrorism and intelligence initiatives. In a recent development, Broidy reportedly brokered a deal between Israeli spyware maker NSO Group and the Mexican government, wherein Mexico agreed to purchase Pegasus software which is deemed to be highly sensitive and possibly intrusive cyberware. This particular rabbit trail will wait until another time to be further developed but it is referenced to demonstrate Broidy’s global reach.
Let's further identify some of those international dots. Broidy was introduced to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed(MBZ) by George Nader. Broidy allegedly secured multi-million contracts with UAE through Nader despite neither opportunist having registered as a Foreign Agent — an oversight that got Paul Manafort indicted. Lebanese-born Nader laboriously worked backchannel Mid-East peace talks in the eighties with Ronald Lauder, a steadfast Israeli supporter, and major Republican contributor.
Broidy, who was on the Board of Directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, referred to the conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit — Secure America Now(SAN), as “one of the groups I am working with,” in an email to an advisor to the United Arab Emirates(UAE). The president of SAN is one Allen Roth, the chief political adviser of Ronald Lauder. The Board of Directors of SAN included Mike Huckabee and recent National Security Adviser John Bolton. SAN promoted itself as the largest national security digital platform in the nation, dedicated to bringing critical security issues to the forefront of the American debate.
Ronald Lauder, who is the president of the World Jewish Congress, gave $1.1 million to SAN which reportedly used targeted advertising on Facebook and Google, to reach potential voters in swing states and districts during the 2016 elections. Lauder was one of the biggest backers of the secretive group that spent millions of dollars on targeted campaign ads predicting a Muslim takeover of the United States. The organization’s biggest individual backer, at $2M, was Robert Mercer, the hedge fund investor whose family has bankrolled Breitbart News and the data company Cambridge Analytica.
While Ronald Lauder — the guy who wanted Trump to buy Greenland from Denmark — may have been the last Lauder family member to impact Donald Trump’s presidency, DJT’s boyhood friend and elite invitee to Trump’s first state dinner in the White House, was not the first Lauder to introduce Trump to Russia and all of its possibilities. That would be Ronald’s brother and heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, Leonard Lauder. Donald Trump famously noted that he first became attracted to the wonders of Russia at a luncheon held in NYC in 1986 hosted by Leonard Lauder, where the Donald was seated next to Russian Ambassador Yuri Dubinin. “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin” in partnership with the Soviet government, Trump wrote in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal. Also present at the event is Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin, later the Russian ambassador to the United Nations. (Churkin died in February 2017 at age 64.)
Before exploring some of the Russian-related dots and connects, let’s examine some material money trails that lead to curious places both offshore and on.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ICIJ) has documented Estee Lauder offshore entities going back to 1973. But they are not the only Lauder offshore entities. Latvia — known as the “Switzerland of Eastern Europe,” was home to a 2004 incorporated company with links to the British Virgin Islands(BVI), called Ronald S. Lauder — Minsk Ltd., an intermediary of Lotus Holding Corp., according to a search of the offshore leaks database of ICIJ. Of more interest is the Lauder International Corp., registered in BVI on June 3, 1997, according to the Panama Papers, and a shareholder of BSG Capital Markets PCC Limited. BSG Capital Markets is a Guernsey, Jersey Island offshore company controlled by an Israeli tycoon by the name of Beny Steinmetz. Keeping it in the Lauder family, one should also take note of ICIJ connects between Lenbro Holding Inc., a BVI company registered in 2001, and BSG.
Besides being one of the original investors in Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital fund(one of the earliest and largest investment funds in Russia)it should be noted that Beny Steinmetz controls many offshore and onshore companies under the holding company called Beny Steinmetz Group Resources — BSGR. BSG Capital Markets is just one of those companies under Mr. Steinmetz’s control. But it happens to be the one that ICIJ connects to Ronald Lauder’s company. Steinmetz, through his companies, is one of the world’s largest buyers of diamonds and a supplier to Tiffany’s. Beny Steinmetz also has an interest in numerous mineral investments throughout Africa as well as Eastern Europe. Beny has been, or is currently, a subject of a criminal investigation for various alleged financial improprieties in Romania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, U.S., and Guinea. Global Witness breaks down BSGR’s association with Guinea mine bribery in an August 2013 article. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/archive/new-evidence-ties-bsgr-company-behind-guinea-mine-bribery/
It is the Guinea bribery case that is the subject of a stalled investigation by the USAO-SDNY wherein Alan Dershowitz represents Beny Steinmetz. Dershowitz is close to both Israeli Premier Bibi Netanyahu and President Trump. Beny Steinmetz is an uncle to Raz Steinmetz who is the Steinmetz family honcho to a large Israeli Real Estate venture called Gaia Investments. Haaretz reports that Gaia has entered into multiple deals with the Kushner Organization in Manhattan, Jersey City, and Brooklyn.
It would be a tempting exercise to drill down on Steinmetz and his association with Black Cube, and also a character by the name Tal Silberstein, and the various dirty tricks type political campaigns run in Eastern Europe analogous to Secure America Now. One particularly fascinating offshore money trail connects Alfred Gusenbauer — Steinmetz — Silberstein — et al. This trail has been linked to Paul Manafort but diverts us from the primary connects of interest here.
It is worth a quick mention, that Ron Lauder ran for NYC mayor eons ago, and his campaign managers were Fox media maven Roger Ailes and Arthur Finkelstein. Ironically, Lauder lost to Rudy Giuliani. Lauder allegedly introduced Finkelstein to Bibi Netanyahu. Finkelstein was Roger Stone’s primary political mentor. But before we leave it should be noted that Lauder purchased a 50% share of General Banking & Trust Company of Budapest in 1990 and therefore obtained some foreign banking know-how. Lauder has had a long interest in Eastern Europe having served as US Ambassador to Austria in 1987. He opened up a restaurant in 1990 in Budapest, home base at the time to ROC Vor, Semion Mogilevich. There is much to mine here but “following the money” trumps “dirty tricks” for now.
The reader is informed here, of reports of Steinmetz’s investment of $10M into the Broidy controlled Israeli-based Markstone Capital back in 2009. Reference should also be noted of a recent contract between a Broidy controlled company Circinus LLC, with a Romanian government-controlled company called Romarm. Steinmetz has been accused of engaging in multiple nefarious financial misdeeds, frequently with Tal Silberstein, in Romania, and other eastern European locations.
Media reports frequently document offshore shell companies and bank accounts that are conduits for tax evasion and money laundering. One article drills a little further down into the environmental and health consequences of unregulated mining, and the unrestrained pursuit of profits associated with Steinmetz controlled companies e.g. Cunico Resources. This article also documents the relationship between Steinmetz companies and those controlled by Alexander Mashkevich, and his partners that make up “the Troika” aka the Kazak Trio — Patokh Chodiev, and Alijan Ibragimov.
Mashkevich has major business holdings and political relationships in Kazakhstan. He holds both Israeli and Kazak passports but mostly travels on his Israeli passport spending no more than one week a month in Kazakhstan according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and his Wikipedia writeup. Mashkevich controls International Mineral Resources which is part of the Eurasian Natural Resource Company(ENRC), owned by the Troika. The Trio gained control of the recently privatized chromium, alumina and gas operations in Kazakhstan(some of the largest in the world).
ENRC, based in London, operates a number of metal assets located in Kazakhstan and Africa, having acquired numerous mining operations in Eastern Europe and Africa. ENRC was placed under criminal investigation this year by UK’s Serious Fraud Office(SFO), wherein ENRC was alleged to have given $40M in cash to Dan Gertler, a billionaire Israeli businessman who will be discussed further a little later. ENRC was taken private in 2013 and renamed the Eurasian Resources Group(ERG).
Mashkevich and the Eurasia Group are said to be investors in Bayrock, the company that Felix Sater headed, that allegedly invested in the Trump Soho project as well as others tied to the Trump Organization. The Bayrock connection is well chronicled and is noted here as an important historical point of reference connecting Mashkevich to Trump minions early on. A glossy twenty-eight-page Bayrock promotional publication lists Eurasia Group, headed up by Alexander Mashkevich, as a strategic partner and source of financing with, and for Bayrock. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, say in Dubai and certainly with our project in Soho,” Donald Trump Jr. told eTurboNews in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Mashkevich appears on the guest list of the Trump Inaugural Committee’s Candlelight Dinner. Attendance at this dinner was by invitation only and required a $1M donation. ABC News reports that flight records show that Maskevich’s private jet flew into Washington DC on Jan. 19, 2017 and out two days later. Not long after, Mashkevich’s yacht Lady Lara was documented by Yacht News, as being in the Seychelles at the same time as Kirill Dmitriev, Eric Prince, George Nadar, and MBZ, for the one beer Prince claims he had with Dmitriev, head of the sanctioned Russian Development Investment Fund(RDIF), and reputed close associate of Vladimir Putin. A week later, Arab News documented Mashkevich being in Davos, Switzerland at the same time as Dmitriev and Scaramucci. A quick note — the author Tom Burgis has made an association in his book Kleptopia — between the Trio, ENRC and the Swiss bank BSI SA in Lugano which is curious given all of their other banking activity which will be explored in a bit.
One main connect of interest here, which has not gotten a lot of media attention, is the heavy investment activity of the Mashkevich companies in Africa, often in concert with Steinmetz-controlled companies.
Before exploring the Steinmetz — Mashkevich nexus in Africa, it is believed that the following offshore connects are worthy of reflection:
Ibragimov } Beneficial Owners of > International Financial Limited
International Financial Limited >>>>>>CIM Global Advisory Services
The above diagram depicts information gleaned from the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database. Chodiev, Ibragimov, and Mashkevich(spelled Machkevitch in the database) are listed as Beneficial Owners of a company called International Financial Limited that was incorporated on April 3, 1998, and registered offshore in the Cook Islands. The database was current until 2010. The present status of International Financial Limited is listed as Struck/Defunct/Deregistered. The intermediary company listed by ICIJ for International Financial Limited is a company called CIM Global Advisory Services AG. Open Corporates lists CIM as a Swiss company that merged with another Swiss-based company called Eurasian Capital AG.
Baker & McKenzie is listed as having Power of Attorney for International Financial Limited. Baker McKenzie is a multinational law firm listed by Wikipedia as the second-largest law firm in the world as of August 2017, with regard to headcount and also revenue. It should be noted that Baker & McKenzie was one of the first law firms to open offices in the former Soviet Union after the Iron Curtain fell. A recent development reflects ICIJ highlighting Baker & McKenzie in the Pandora Papers, as being a powerful global progenitor of offshore entities for individuals and companies that wanted to conceal their financial transactions from prying eyes.
It should be further noted that the great James Henry has reported that Patokh Chodiev procured a class B banking license for 23M Euros for — The International Financial Bank Limited located in the Cook Islands and associated with the shell company referenced above — International Financial Limited. The class B license allowed for currency transactions to be conducted by the bank in all known global currencies.
Henry reflected further that the constitution of an offshore bank allows among other things, “to make any money laundering undetectable” as noted by Jean-Claude Delepierre president of the Financial Information Processing unit, the Belgian organ(FinCEN) for detecting money flows, quoted by Le Soir.
The need for a covert offshore bank intrigues given the fact that “the Trio” founded in the late nineties, and Chodiev sits on the board of what is currently the eighth largest bank measured by assets in Kazakhstan — Eurasian Bank JSC. Eurasian Bank completed the acquisition in 2010 of the Russian bank Troika Dialog — itself known for shady banking practices, mostly related to day-to-day honcho Ruben Vardanyan. Troika Dialog made extensive use of Ukio Bankas in Lithuania as its favored laundromat according to OCCRP. As the linked article highlights, Ukio Bankas made extensive use of Raiffeisen Bank in Austria as its main European correspondent bank = a bank well known to Russian Vor Semion Mogilevich https://www.occrp.org/en/troikalaundromat/the-troika-laundromats-friendly-eu-banker.
ICIJ notes that International Financial Limited used an agent by the name Portcullis Trust to facilitate registration in the Cook Islands. Portcullis TrustNet is an offshore services provider headquartered in Singapore. Media reports have noted Deutsche Bank’s use of Portcullis to facilitate the creation or management of numerous offshore entities for its “high net worth customers.”
Offshore services providers are also called “introducer structures,” whose function is to create offshore companies together with bank accounts — ‘corporations in a box’ — set up on behalf of their clients. A leaked audit of stricken Cyprus banks in April of 2010, noted that 75% of all accounts at the banks had been opened by such introducer structures. Further reports in 2010 have noted that 23% of the Latvian banking sector’s non-resident deposits were shell companies incorporated in BVI, 14% shell companies incorporated in the UK.
Recall that Ronald Lauder used the services of Lotus Holding Company which is headquartered in the Seychelles. Lotus maintains directorship of over 1,500 BVI firms listed at a Riga address of a Latvian incorporation company called Financial Group Omega, which offers shell companies in combination with bank accounts at Latvian banks.
Organized Crime connect — It was reported as far back as 1997 that Ronald Lauder has been documented as a partner with the notorious Vadim Rabinovich in various Ukrainian business ventures including multiple Media companies. A late breaking development — has Ukraine Prime Minister Zelensky stripping Rabinovich’s citizenship along with other notorious Ukraine oligarchs.
Lauder founded Central Media Enterprise(CME) in 1994. By 1997, CME owned TV stations in Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Later on, Lauder invested heavily with the Uzbek-Israeli “King of Diamonds” — Lev Leviev in two well-known Israeli media companies — Channel 10 & Israel Plus 10. CME was originally denied licensing in Ukraine.
Oleksandr Volkov — a Presidential advisor to Leonid Kuchma, and at one time the Ukrainian representative of Seabeco Metals referenced later on in this article, suggested Lauder work with Ukraine oligarchs Vadim Rabinovich and Boris Fuchsmann, to obtain the necessary license — which Lauder did. In 2001, CME was investigated by US Federal Prosecutors over allegations it paid at least $1 million to Ukraine officials to obtain the valuable TV license.
Stefan Lemieszewski has documented some interesting details with regard to Rabinovich and Grigori Loutchansky. He notes that Rabinovich was the Ukrainian representative for Nordex — a Russian Organized Crime(ROC) money-laundering operation allegedly directed by Loutchansky. Army Lieutenant Colonel James T. Clifford reported that the connection between the Soviet government and Nordex was apparently Vladimir Shcherbakov Vice Premier for the last Communist Party government of the old Soviet Union.
Lemieszewski records that Rabinovich met President Bill Clinton and VP Al Gore at a Sept. 19, 1995, Miami fund-raiser at the Sheraton Bal Harbor Hotel although his visa had been revoked a month earlier, because of his ROC connections. Rabinovich attended the fund-raiser as a guest of Bennett LeBow, president of The Liggett Group and personal friend of DJT. Tangentially, it is noted that Liggett Ducat was originally owned by LeBow, launching in 1999 and fast becoming Russia’s #1 selling cigarette. Rabinovich had worked as a consultant on LeBow’s project to develop a luxury Hotel and Business center in Kyiv.
Rabinovich was alleged in his Wikipedia bio to have been provided code name Zholud — Acorn by the KGB when he was serving a prison sentence. Rabinovich was known to be the prime supporter of one of the three chief Rabbi’s of Ukraine — Moshe Azman. Rudy Giuliani has been photographed smoking cigars with Azman along with Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. In addition to receiving support from Rabinovich, Azman is known to have received political support from Poroshenko’s ex-chief of staff Boris Lozhkin who was elected President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine in 2018 and appointed Vice President of the World Jewish Congress.
Fruman set up a non-profit in Ukraine called American Friends of Anatevka with Rabbi Azman. Parnas sits on the Board. Anatevka is a Ukrainian — Jewish hamlet in Ukraine that was funded primarily by Rabinovich(his plaque is the biggest) and perhaps the largest donor — Mikhail Mirilashvili aka Misha Kutaisi— a Russian-Georgian billionaire. Mirilashvili made his first millions in St. Petersburg, Russia where he headed up about a half dozen casinos in the mid-nineties — a couple in partnership with the notorious oligarch Oleg Boyko. Never ask a Russian oligarch how he made his first million. However, in this case, the answer might be illuminating in that bureaucratic oversight of the casinos in Petersburg was provided by the then Deputy Mayor Vladimir Putin. Boyko’s alleged Krysha was KGB agent Valeriy Polomarchuk an associate of Putin’s.
Boyko’s Russian influence, notoriety and centrality even drew a small mention from the Mueller Report when it noted on page 645, that “Boyko has concerning ties to the Russian government, the Russian Intelligence security services and to organized crime.”
Among other things, Boyko was an alleged money launderer who ran several banks into the ground in Russia while also plying his money laundering skills in Latvia where he became embroiled in the Parex Banka scandal. Boyko utilized numerous onshore companies notably the OLBI group in addition to Ritzio and the Finstar Financial group which involved itself in producing Hollywood movies. Boyko(also spelled Boiko)made use of multiple offshore shell companies located in Malta e.g. Allectika Limited and Credence Holdings Limited.
Boyko controlled a micro-finance( a fancy term for legal loan sharking)company in Latvia named 4Finance that employed David Geovanis who reportedly showed Donald Trump around Moscow in 1996. Geovanis has also been employed by the Russian oligarch Deripaska as well as close Trump business friends Bennett Lebow and Howard Lorber — first in a company named the Brooke Group — later re-named Vector Group. It is noted that one of the main stockholders of the Vector Group at one time was the Hedge fund Renaissance Technology(RenTech) run by Robert Mercer referenced elsewhere in this piece. Chief Administrative officer of Vector was Bryan Cohen — brother to Michael Cohen.
Geovanis married a Russian woman and obtained a Russian passport in 2014. In 2017, Geovanis was re-employed by Lebow to set up the Russian arm of a company in Russia named Somerset Coal International which claims to clean coal by washing it at high pressure. Geovanis has not returned to the U.S for some time as it is speculated he wants to avoid testifying before various Congressional committees. Speculation centers around the possibility of a certain Miss Moscow — 1988 by the name of Masha Kalinina and her alleged acquaintance with DJT being the focus of prospective Congressional questioning of Geovanis.
The NY Times further documents Rabinovich as past partners with the very connected ROC and ex KGB figure — Grigori Loutchansky, a noted money launderer who specialized in Latvian money laundering. Loutchansky has been connected to Mikail Cherney, Iskander Makhmudov, Gafur Rakhimov, and other notable hooligans comprising what became known as the Tashkent group. Time Magazine once described Grigori Loutchansky as “the most pernicious unindicted criminal in the world.” According to Lemieszewski, Loutchansky was the subject of a two-day, 11 nation Interpol meeting in 1995.
VTB African Safari
Why did the oligarch Alexander Mashkevich bring the (Russian) State bank(VTB) to the Congo?
According to RusLETTER 06/07/17 when the Congo dictator Joseph Kabila refused to resign, Western financial institutions stopped financing the government and its “strategic projects.” Gesamines (also spelled as Gecamines)Corp is the state mining monopoly in the Republic of Congo. Gesamine’s business partner is the Eurasian Resources Group(ERG). On June 1, 2017, VTB and ERG signed an MOU at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The VTB signator was Yuri Soloviev, ex — Deutsche Bank Moscow executive, and First Deputy President & Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board. The ERG signator was ERG Chairman of the Board — Alexander(Sasha) Mashkevich. This article further notes that after the Savarona Yacht prostitution scandal with business associate Tevfik Arif another acolyte of Gafur Rakhimov, Mashkevich was replaced on the Gesamines Board of Directors by Jack Rosen, who will be discussed in a bit.
Dan Gertler is the original “Blood Diamond” dude and well-known Israeli tycoon referenced above that allegedly received $40M in cash from Mashkevich’s ENRC under investigation by UK’s SFO. Gertler is reported to have made initial contact with President Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An article in Haaretz establishes that “In the mid-2000s, Gertler, in tandem with fellow tycoon Beny Steinmetz, purchased a number of copper and cobalt mines from the Congolese government. Gertler has a long history of partnering in Africa with members of the Steinmetz family. Gertler guides numerous offshore entities, as does the Steinmetz family. One side note: Gertler’s companies discovered 3 billion barrels of oil deposits in the Congo a few years ago which drew much international interest.
Tangentially, RFE reports that Washington lobbyist extraordinaire Robert Stryk of the Sonoran Policy Group(SPG) appears to have played a role in Rudy Giuliani’s effort to win a contract for Security consulting work in the Democratic Republic of Congo through an Israeli firm called Mer Security and Communication Systems, which has worked for years with the Congolese president Joseph Kabila. Mer agreed to pay SPG $1.25M to lobby in Washington for Kabila’s government.
Gertler has been sanctioned by the Trump administration. Gertler has hired famed attorney Alan Dershowitz and ex FBI Director Louis Freeh to lobby for him, successfully as it turns out, before the U.S. Treasury Department with regard to turning around the sanctions.
Gertler had an interest in the Katanga mine but his companies were in need of financing, which started a tempestuous relationship with Glencore Plc, the largest mining company in the world. The Paradise Papers shed light on Glencore’s relationship with Dan Gertler and the fact that Glencore spread its business among 107 offshore entities.
Glencore was originally formed by Marc Rich who was indicted in the US in 1983, on 65 Federal counts for exploiting the US embargo against Iran, Tax Evasion, Fraud, and Racketeering. Rich fled to Switzerland where he stayed until he was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Clinton apparently was unconcerned about reports that Rich was involved in a huge money-laundering operation in the States in the late nineties masterminded by ROC figure Grigori Loutchansky, through his Nordex company that was addressed at the same location as Benex, a subsidiary of Glencore, headed by Marc Rich.
Loutchansky was partners with UOC figure Vadim Rabinovich. Both Rabinovich and Loutchansky, referenced above, were well-known associates of ROC Vor Semion Mogilevich aka “the brainy don”. Mogilevich attended a ROC meeting convened in Tel Aviv in 1995. Rabinovich is also reported as having attended.
We would be remiss if we did not reference the linkage between Glencore and Iskander Makhmudov the metals magnate from Uzbekistan who traded copper with Glencore through his UGMK and Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company(UMMC) companies with the aid of multiple offshore shell companies. Various media reports have associated Makhmudov with Mikhail Cherney and Oleg Deripaska along with the head of the Ismailovsky ROC gang Anton Malevsky whose last name was originally spelled Ismailovsky. Many reports have noted (specifically Spanish media emanating from Jose Grinda’s prosecution of Russian Organized Crime)that Makhmudov has laundered large sums through British/Irish shell companies associated with the above-noted Makhmudov companies — originally through Latvian Parex Banka. Later on — recent articles focused on Makhmudov’s use of Danske bank and Swedbank to move his monies with the correspondent bank support of Deutsche Bank, which will be discussed more a bit later.
Fast forward to July 3, 2018, Reuters reports that DOJ has issued subpoenas to Glencore Plc, with regard to Glencore’s compliance with the Money Laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act(FCPA) laws in the Democratic Republic of Congo going back to 2007 — present. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office(SFO) is also reported to have opened a fraud investigation into Glencore’s Congo operations back in May 2018. Another interesting offshoot to explore another time.
Update — Bloomberberg reports that Anthony Stimler — a former trader for Glencore, has been cooperating with SDNY for at least two years(going back to 2019) pursuant to a cooperation agreement and has testified that he paid millions of dollars in bribes to African government officials and intermediaries(via shelf or so-called “briefcase companies”) that acted as conduits to officials.
Before moving on, it is worth noting that Jack Rosen, referenced above as a replacement for Mashkevich on the Gesamines Board, was also documented as a member of the Advisory Board of Quantum Global, the financial adviser to Angola’s Sovereign fund FSDEA. Quantum is under investigation now, by the Mauritius authorities for financial misdeeds related to the head of Quantum, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. There is much smoke to this story that involves some Russian entities, as well as various offshore companies in BVI and Cyprus. This is another interesting offshoot, but we will pause here with regard to that particular rabbit trail, after taking note of Jack Rosen’s membership on Quantum’s Advisory Board.
Jack Rosen is a NY real estate magnate with widespread international business interests. He is also president of the American Jewish Congress, one of five regional branches of the World Jewish Congress. Rosen was the only Jew invited by the UAE Crown Prince MBZ, to his son’s wedding. Rosen reportedly formed a $1Bn American Real Estate Investment partnership venture in 2012 with Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, who owns Alfa Group, and was the leader of the Alfa Bank in Russia. It should be noted that Fridman controls his own BVI offshore shell company called Alfa Overseas Investments according to ICIJ.
Fridman is also listed by ICIJ as a beneficial owner of another offshore shell company called Countryisle Assets Limited with fellow Alfa execs Khan and Aven. How nice for them.
Lauder met with Fridman and German Khan of Alfa Bank in London in November 2014. Lauder is personally close to Petr Aven, the third honcho of Alfa. Aven and Lauder have partnered in Art Gallery showings in NYC, as they both share a taste for expensive art. This is the same Petr Aven who invited Mikhail Lesin to the Woodrow Wilson dinner which was the occasion associated with the mysterious death of Lesin in a Washington DC hotel on Nov. 15, 2015. Lesin was Putin’s ex Press Minister and founder of RT television in Russia. RT was reportedly the source of a $30K payment to Michael Flynn in 2015 that Flynn neglected to report to his ex-employer as required — DOD. Petr Aven also sponsored David Bonderman’s Award dinner with the Woodrow Wilson International Center — Kennan Institute.
David Bonderman is an American business mogul who can be found on the Board of Directors of many well-known corporate boards. One fascinating offshore link includes Continental Airlines which lists Bonderman as a Director along with another notable — Thomas Barrack Inaugural Committee Chairman referenced further below. Other interesting connects include VTB JSC (Kazakhstan), TPG, and TWG Holdings Limited. It is Bonderman’s connect with TPG and TIPC, as well as TWG Holdings Limited which finds him listed offshore by ICIJ with some very interesting connections according to the Paradise and Appleby Papers.
Bonderman started up a bank called Redwood Bank in the UK of all places, with another well-known financier Rich Gerson, of Falcon Edge Capital. Gerson’s brother Mark, was an early investor in Cadre, a multi-million dollar real estate tech startup founded by Jared Kushner and his brother Josh Kushner. Jared notably omitted Cadre from his financial disclosure forms and as of July 15, 2020, has not divested his multi-million dollar stock holding in Cadre as he originally promised.
One can only wonder if that omission had anything to do with the fact that the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner invested approximately $850k into Cadre. Milner has invested heavily in Facebook and Twitter. He is close to the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov whose investments have received backing from such Kremlin-approved financing stalwarts as Gazprom Investholding(which Usmanov headed for many years) and VTB. Usmanov has been alleged to have been mentored by the notorious Transnational Crime Syndicate leader Gafur Rakhimov referenced above.
But we can’t move on without noting that Bonderman has also served on the Board of Directors of the Russian Development Investment Fund(RDIF) headed up by Kirill Dmitriev of Seychelle Island “one beer” with Erik Prince fame. Reportedly, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and Leon Black of Apollo Management have also served on the RDIF Board. Sanctions were applied to RDIF in 2015 and the names of Bonderman, Schwarzman, and Black have all since been deleted from RDIF.
Quick note — Emily Smith of Page Six reported back on February 2, 2016 that Carl Icahn’s 80th birthday celebration was hosted by Mastro’s Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. Icahn noted that he shares a steak dinner every six weeks or so with his good buddies Howard Lorber, Bennett LeBow, Rich Handler, Andrew Whittaker and others for over 20 years. Think Russian investment opportunities ever comes up in conversation?
It is important to remember that RDIF was a spinoff from Vnesheconobank(VEB) a Russian state-run bank helmed by ex-FSB agent Sergei Gorkov who memorably met with Jared Kushner at the company offices of Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital, subsequent to Michael Flynn’s interaction with Russian Ambassador Kislyak but prior to Donald Trump being officially inaugurated, President. VEB had signed a cooperation agreement with Deutsche Bank several years ago further cementing a close relationship that Deutsche had engendered with Russia.
Indeed, the FinCEN Files recently delineated billions of dollars of dubious Oleg Deripaska-related financial transactions flowing through the auspices of Deutsche Bank including millions of dollars deemed suspicious enough to warrant the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report(SAR). Catherine Belton supplements the Russian-Deutsche Bank connection on page 479 of her book Putin’s People, when she notes that Deutsche Bank’s Moscow arm “was home for the corporate accounts of Putin’s closest allies — Timchenko, Rotenberg and Kovalchuk.”
Notably, the author David Enrich in his recent Deutsche Bank opus ‘Dark Towers’ — documented an invitation once extended by Vladimir Putin to Deutsche CEO Josef Ackerman to head up the Russian Sovereign Fund. But Ackerman remained at Deutsche from 2002 until 2012. He became Chairman of the Board of Bank of Cyprus(BOC) in 2014 following the proposal of then chief stockholder and Vice-Chairman Wilbur Ross. It is noteworthy that Ross became Trump’s designated Secretary of Commerce. Ross navigated the bankruptcy waters for Trump with regard to multiple Trump casino bankruptcies. These casinos were also the subject of substantial U.S. Treasury fines for Bank Secrecy violations with regard to anti-money laundering violations.
The other Vice-Chairman of BOC at the time was ex-KGB intelligence official Vladimir Strzhalkovsky.
And it should be noted that the Russian fertilizer oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev was the largest BOC stockholder purchasing much of BOC stock through an offshore fund naturally, called Odella Resources.
Surely it was merely coincidence that the yachts of Mercer and Rybolovlev crossed paths during the 2016 election campaign. Then again, recall that Rybolovlev notably purchased a DJT south Florida mega mansion for approximately a $45M markup just when major commercial banks were circling the wagons around the Donald for personally secured loans that were looking shaky. That particular real estate transaction doesn’t pass the smell test and it has nothing to do with fertilizer.
Deutsche Bank — Tax Issues — Money Laundering
It is also noted that Alfa Bank and the Lauder Institute in Moscow, partnered to present an award to Deutsche Bank in 2006 to honor Deutsche’s successful business ventures in Russia, which means among other things, Deutsche lent big bucks to Russian oligarchs. It should be further noted that the jury deciding on the above-referenced Deutsche Bank award, was made up of Leonard Lauder, Richard Burt, and Petr Aven. http://web.archive.org/web/20170621214311/https:/alfabank.com/media/news/2006/06/20/ Curiously, Alfa-Bank has recently taken down the reference to this award from their website.
Deutsche Bank had also made hundreds of millions of dollars in loans by this time to the Trump Organization, and the Kushner Companies a little later on. Additionally, Deutsche had sold a bunch of “Basket Options” to Robert Mercer’s Renaissance Technology(RenTech) hedge fund during this time, in apparent violation of the Non-Prosecution Agreement(NPA) agreed to with the USAO-SDNY not to sell Tax Shelter type instruments. The bogus options created billions in questionable tax savings for RenTech.
It is noted in passing that ICIJ has linked Mercer’s high-flying hedge fund Renaissance Technology Corp.(RenTech) with Murdoch & Company through an offshore entity located in Bermuda called Nova Fund L.P. https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/nodes/82001639. Nova was absorbed by Medallion — RenTech’s main moneymaker — after experiencing a mysterious regulatory breach. http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-there-more-than-meets-eye-at-rentec.html
One of the biggest Super Pacs funding the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the 2016 election, was the National Horizon Super Pac, which was largely funded by Robert Mercer and Ronald Lauder. It is noted that Lauder had his own IRS troubles in 2014 when he dabbled in a controversial tax practice called Prepaid Variables Forward(PVF). Further, Pro Publica unearthed what is referred to as “the secret IRS files” pertaining to wealthy Americans who pay little to no taxes. Prominent among them were the Estee Lauder family and inheritors.
Notably, and perhaps infamously, Deutsche Bank had laundered many billions out of Russia via “Mirror Trades” through UK and NY into offshore shells. The criminal investigation in USAO-SDNY has stalled despite both Congressional and media inquiries. The Federal Reserve and the FBI are also reported to have initiated probes of Deutsche Bank’s correspondent bank relationship with Danske Bank and Deutsche’s role if any, in Danske’s money laundering of a reported $260Bn through its branch located in Estonia.
Mikhail Fridman is the founder and head of the Russian Jewish Congress. Alexander Mashkevich is the leader of the Eurasian Jewish Congress(EAJC) and as referenced earlier, Jack Rosen is the president of the American Jewish Congress. Vadim Rabinovich was the President of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine. Moshe Kantor is the president of the European Jewish Congress and a multi-billionaire Russian oligarch sanctioned by the UK in April 2022 for his close ties to Vladimir Putin. Emmanuil Grinshpun is the president of the Moldavan Jewish Congress.
A quick note on Grinshpun — various media reports and his Linked-in account reflect his birth in Moldova, Romanian citizenship, employment as a VP for the tainted Latvian bank Rietumu Banka, honcho of several businesses associated with Moldova and the curious factoid that for some reason Kazakhstan designated him Honorary Consul in Miami which provides him with Diplomatic pouch privileges — meaning no one searches his designated diplomatic pouch when traveling through the Miami airport. That raises the question — for whom does Mr. Grinshpun operate as a bagman if anyone, or perhaps we should rephrase the query — precisely whom does Grinshpun carry a pouch for?
ICIJ contains a shell company in its database linked to Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands associated with Grinshpun called Etaco Trading. ICIJ cautions that no negative inference should be drawn when one is associated with an offshore shell company — that there are in fact legal reasons for maintaining offshore shell companies. Fair enough.
One source reports that Grinshpun accompanied Mashkevich when they both attended Trump’s Inauguration along with Lev Parnas — a now convicted Federal felon.
Grinshpun’s involvement in Trump’s Inauguration is curious given his potential involvement in elections in Moldova in 2014. Moldova is an ex communist satellite of the old Soviet Union and borders on Ukraine which was undergoing tumult in 2014. An article in the Romanian Political Science Review is quoted here in order to encapsulate Grinshpun’s potential role as a Russian influencer:
How could the PCRM, the formerly large and powerful party, end up the shadow of today? A meeting that never happened apparently sealed the fate of Moldovan communists. On 21 May 2014, in the Chișinău office of businessman Emmanuil Grinshpun, the president of the Jewish Congress of Moldova, a Russian billionaire, Oleg Boyko, the head of Finstar Financial Group, was waiting for Voronin. The leader of the communists came in a car, stopped in front of the building for a few minutes, then left and didn’t look back. Voronin and Boiko were supposed to shake hands on the conditions negotiated in Moscow by Mark Tkachuk, the ideologue of Moldovan communists, in order for Russia to help in the upcoming election campaign. Armand Gosu(2016) Republic of Moldova, the year 2015 in politics, Studia Politica: Romanian Political Science Review, 16(1) 21–51.
The above article captures an association between Grinshpun and the earlier referenced Russian oligarch Boyko who the Mueller report characterized as having “concerning” ties to the Russian government, the Russian Intelligence security services and to organized crime.
Ronald Lauder is the overall head of the World Jewish Congress and met with Vladimir Putin in that capacity, in Moscow in April 2016, at the World Jewish Congress meeting. Lauder also met with the Chief Rabbi of Moscow Berel Lazar aka “Putin’s Rabbi.” It should be noted that Lazar, a one-time Aluminum oligarch, and ROC connected Michael Chernoy(aka Cherney), and Putin cousin Igor Putin once shared a house together in central Moscow.
It should also be noted that Mashkevich was replaced as head honcho on the EAJC in 2017 by Mikhail Mirilashvili referenced above who according to a December 2019 interview with Calcalist magazine maintains a photo of himself with Vladimir Putin in his office.
It is worth further noting that Mirilashvili’s EAJC signed a memo of cooperation with Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar’s Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia in December of 2017 which Josef Zissels — a Jewish Community activist in Ukraine described(the memo)as staunchly pro-Kremlin. Lazar has reportedly received significant financial support from such well-known Russian oligarchs and Putin favorites as Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska, and the above referenced ‘King of Diamonds’ — Lev Leviev (aka as Austrian Police Intelligence files put it — Cherney’s man).
Adding to the above note, Temur Ben Yehuda(Khikhinashvili) the first Vice President of EAJC and Chairman of the Israeli-Russian Business Council actively works to promote business engagement between Russia and Israel.
Khikhinashvili can be found in the ICIJ database as Director of an offshore shell company located in the Isle of Man called Floremzane Limited. Two associated Ultimate Beneficial Owners of Floremzane are Roland Isaev and Paata Gamgoneishvili https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/nodes/82021995.
Paata is another Russian-Georgian tycoon who travels under a Bulgarian passport and has been purported to dabble in organized crime. He is also chairman of a Moscow bank called Slavyanskii Kredit Bank. Paata has reportedly been brought on as an investor in commercial real estate ventures by the Vector Group https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2017/10/16/waterfront-condo-project-in-south-beach-nabs-63m.html which is headed up by Bennett LeBow referenced above, and Howard Lorber, one of Donald Trump’s best friends and notably, perhaps coincidentally, one of Trump’s first telephonic contacts subsequent to the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Madame Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort et al where Russian adoption and/or Hillary Clinton were discussed, depending on who you believe.
It is worth noting that the above referenced Vadim (Zholud) Rabinovich was at one time listed as the first Vice President of EAJC. Another VP listed recently by EAJC is Alexander Aaron Levin. SDNY has referenced Levin in connection with their investigation of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, and recent Ukraine Tax Service chief Roman Nasirov. Levin was born in Odesa and is president of the Kyiv Jewish Community and founding president of the American-based World Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry. Levin heads the Stockholm-based TeleAlliance Media Holding company. He acquired Israel’s Channel 9 from Lev Leviev in 2013. Levin reputedly makes most of his money from real estate ventures.
Al Jazeera has published an article claiming Elliott Broidy was contracted by VTB and the Investment Capital Ukraine(ICU) which is the financial advisor to Petro Poroshenko, recent president of Ukraine, to provide consulting services. Broidy was to be paid by VTB via an offshore entity called Quillas Equities S.A., allegedly controlled by Yuri Soloviev referenced earlier. Broidy claims his email was hacked by Qatar, and the Al Jazeera allegations are false. If it is, in fact, true, that Nader is cooperating with Mueller then Nader’s entire email string should be available to Mueller or other authorized investigators to refute the hack defense. OCCRP, via the Panama Papers, has provided a detailed analysis with regard to Yuri Soloviev’s offshore dealings which is provided here for a frame of reference.
Musa Bazhaev — is a Chechen oligarch, a friend of Putin(FOP), and close to Alexander Mashkevich and the ‘Kazak Trio.’ Putin worries about Sunni Muslim-dominated Chechnya 24/7. Putin is alleged (All the Kremlin’s Men — Mikhail Zygar) to have bought out Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who allegedly knocked off political rivals e.g. Boris Nemtsov and critics of Putin for a price. Kadyrov is close to King Abdullah of Jordan and MBZ of UAE. How many Chechen oligarchs are there? Not many.
According to Zygar, Bazhaev pledged to Kadyrov to invest in Chechen infrastructure. Bazhaev is the President of a large business conglomerate called Alliance Group. Putin has allowed Bazhaev to get into the extremely profitable platinum business. Why would Putin make this allowance? Musa Bazhaev is now the chairman of a very lucrative offshore entity called Russian Platinum PLC. The Paradise Papers show the connections. Media reports e.g. The Guardian have noted a significant amount of the Russian ‘mirror trades’ — referenced above — sourced from Chechnya.
One connection that intrigues here is a cousin to Ramzan Kadyrov by the name Adam Delimkhanov. Besides being a member of the Russian Duma, Delimkhanov is well known in Russia and Chechnya as “the butcher from Grozny” after being linked to multiple murders there.
Delimkhanov and his siblings run what is known as ‘the oil regiment’ — an armed gang(siloviki)also known as Sechin’s spetsnaz, used to guard gas and oil facilities in Russia under the direction of Igor Sechin — head of Rosneft and ex-chief of staff to Vladimir Putin.
Delimkhanov has been associated with Ilya Traber — an old friend of Putin’s from their St. Petersburg days and who is alleged to have personally supervised the construction of at least one of Putin’s mansions in the St. Petersburg area. Traber has been identified by Spanish authorities as having been involved in laundering millions through Spanish real estate.
Tying up loose ends.
Russian/Canadien/Israeli Context-Connects-Historical-OC and Otherwise
In 2001, Trump Tower Toronto(TTT) was licensed by the Trump Org. TTT was mostly funded by Alex Shnaider, through Talon International, and Ukrainian billionaire Eduard Shifrin with financing purportedly provided by VEB and Raiffeisen. Shnaider’s father-in-law was the infamous Boris Birshtein, who has been alleged to be a possible double agent for Mossad and the KGB. Birshtein was a Canadian, Swiss, and Israeli citizen born in the USSR(Lithuania). Birshtein was the original owner of a business entity called Seabeco Group known for theft and money laundering in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ukraine. Seabeco was closely associated with Organized Crime, assassination, and political manipulation in each of the referenced countries. Seabeco Metals was allegedly founded by the KGB in1983 as an international trading company for the purpose of smuggling the Communist Party’s hidden gold out of the USSR and also to fund overseas Russian Intelligence operations.
Birshtein’s Seabeco co-owner and silent partner was alleged to be Sergey Mikhailov, the purported head of SOLNTSEVO, the biggest, and most powerful crime syndicate in the USSR. Mikhailov was said to be a personal friend of Vladimir Putin. Mikhailov also partnered with Birshtein in another company similar to Seabeco called MAB International. There are several MAB’s listed in the ICIJ database. In 1992, Seabeco was at the center of a scandal involving missing gold from Kyrgyzstan’s reserve. Allegedly, Birshtein’s private jets transported tons of gold to Zurich which was then stored by UBS. In 1993, Seabeco acquired a 30% stake in Ukraine’s 4th largest steel mill called Zaporizhstal. In May 1994, the committee fighting Organized Crime and Corruption in Russia, called Seabeco “an octopus entangling the Russian economy.” A stunning example of Seabeco’s international reach would be Birshtein, as Group Chairman at the Supreme Economic Council under the President of Moldova, transferring control of Moldova’s largest commercial bank to Canada using a network of Dublin based companies.
The above narrative provides context and a basis for the telling allegation that Alexander Mashkevich and Potokh Chodiev spent time managing Seabeco Belgium and Seabeco Moscow respectively, under the direction of Birshtein. Indeed, Paris Match reported that the Belgian Seabeco office was largely involved in laundering stolen Ukrainian oil proceeds for the Ukraine Oil mafia(Neftemafia) which included the likes of the notorious arms and narcotics trafficker Leonid Minin and the Odesa port ROC caporegime Alexandre Angert. Belgian authorities placed Mashkevich under investigation for a multi-million dollar money-laundering scheme in 2011. Alex Shnaider — son-in-law to Birshtein was at one time Seabeco’s Zurich representative. And Oleksandr Volkov as noted elsewhere was the Ukraine Seabeco representative and allegedly provided a conduit for Seabeco’s covert financing of Kuchma’s election campaign in Ukraine.
Finally, it is noted that it was Birshtein who hosted a “summit meeting of Russian Organized Crime,” at his office in Tel Aviv from 10/10/95–10/19/95 referenced earlier. Semion Mogilevich is reported to have attended, as did Vadim Rabinovich, Grigorii Loutchansky, and Sergey Mikhailov referenced above. In 2008, Birshtein is further reported to have collaborated with FBI Director Mueller on the Robert Levinson case. Levinson was the CIA spy who disappeared in Iran in 2007. Levinson was perhaps the leading US Intelligence authority on ROC when he disappeared according to Robert Friedman, in his book Red Mafiya.
A quick note — Tom Burgis included a footnote in his book Kleptopia, that Alexander Mashkevich, aka Sasha, moved money for Mogilevich. So we now know that not only did Mashkevich launder money for Birshtein and Seabeco — in other words — the KGB, but in addition Sasha also moved money for ROC — Semion Mogilevich.
If you were running the Secret Service would you let a guy like that(Mashkevich) attend a candle light dinner in the White House for and with the newly elected President of the U.S.?
Only if POTUS authorized it!
The above reference to Mogilevich brings us back to Michael Cohen and the guy we started with — Elliott Broidy. Both gentlemen were made Deputy Campaign Finance Chairs for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign. Both men have stepped down in recent months with their respective reputations shattered.
It was Michael Cohen’s Delaware shell company Essential Consultants LLC, that so famously funneled payments to Stormy Daniels, an ex-paramour of DJT, and also secreted payments from Elliott Broidy to his pregnant Playboy centerfold mistress Shera Bechard. So is there a ROC connect?
Viktor Topolov was the leader of the Ukrainian Coal Ministry and a personal friend of the Ukrainian President and one of the richest men in Ukraine when he partnered up with Alexi Oronov in an ethanol business venture in Ukraine. Topolov was connected to Mogilevich and ROC through Leonid Roytman(also spelled Roitman). Topolov and Oronov wanted to build a factory in Ukraine that would require significant financing. So together, they tapped Oronov’s son-in-law, Bryan Cohen, along with Bryan’s brother Michael Cohen, to pitch the ill-fated factory deal to Morgan Stanley in 2006. Topolov acknowledged to Forbes Ukraine in a February 2010 interview, that he kept his business off the books to protect himself.
It was Oronov, who mysteriously died in February 2017, that set up the meeting between Michael Cohen, Felix Sater, and Andrii Artemenko Ukrainian MP, to draw up a prospective Ukrainian peace plan, that Michael Cohen allegedly walked to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s desk. Felix Sater’s father was reputed to be a lieutenant in Mogilevich’s ROC family. As noted above, Felix Sater actively recruited investment from Alexander Mashkevich, the Kazak trio, Tevfik Arif, and Tamir Sapir for the Bayrock Trump Soho project.
Two common threads that run through many of the connections referenced in this piece are the use of offshore shell companies/bank accounts and Russian Organized Crime(ROC).
This article has attempted to trace some of the historical offshore money and ROC connects to Trump’s associates and their businesses. More contemporary financial connects would have to include the use of luxury real estate purchases via Trump-related properties to launder money for ROC.
Jonathan Viner, deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement in the Clinton administration was quoted as saying in regard to the use of luxury Real Estate to launder money,…” It didn’t matter that you paid too much because real estate values would rise, and it was a way of turning dirty money into clean money.” Viner was further quoted as saying “It was done very systematically, and it explained why there are so many high rises where the unit was sold, but no one is living in them.” Cash purchases of a luxury property via shell companies with no requirement to reveal the beneficial owner was a key method to launder foreign ill-gotten gains.
When Trump Tower was built, as David Cay Johnston reports in The Making of Donald Trump, “it was only the second high-rise in New York that accepted anonymous buyers.” Craig Unger notes in his informative article in the New Republic, that Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today, that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians.
Then there was the infamous Elena Baronoff — VP Customer Relations of the Trump Grande in Sunny Isles, known as Trump’s “Russian hand,” who was alleged to have sold 44 units to Russian buyers. Elena grew up in Uzbekistan and specialized in sales to Russians but also allegedly was involved in a $28M 2012/13 Manhattan real estate deal with Erdogan’s son Bilal.
Just to bring this bit to full circle — it appears that Lev Parnas and David Correia working through an LLC located in Boca Raton called Mendo Cali LLC, took over for Baronoff after her unfortunate leukemia-related death in 2014.
Seth Hettena reports in his book Trump/Russia, that a key member of Mogilevich’s crime family, David Bogatin, purchased five Trump Tower condos for Six million dollars at one time in 1984 when Trump reputedly personally attended the closing. Bogatin was indicted for a massive Fuel Excise tax fraud scheme he allegedly carried out in New York with the assistance of Lawrence (Fat Larry)Iorizzo of the Colombo crime family headed up back then by Michael Franzese.
David Bogatin’s brother — Jacob Bogatin was the President and CEO of YBM Magnex International a firm listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange that was the subject of an FBI investigation and indictment in Pennsylvania for being at the center of a large bust-out money laundering scheme that was masterminded by Semion Mogilevich the silent owner of YBM.
In 1991, the FBI says Mogilevich paid a Russian judge to spring a fellow mob boss, Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov nicknamed Yaponchik(Little Japanese), from a Siberian gulag. Within a few years, Ivankov moved from Brighton Beach — Brooklyn to a luxury condo in Trump Tower in Manhattan according to Craig Unger’s article. Ivankov reportedly(American Interest)possessed in his personal phone book, the private telephone, and fax numbers for the Trump Organization. Seth Hettena has reported that Ivankov was chauffeured down to Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City from Brighton Beach multiple times for the purposes of laundering large sums of ROC sourced illicit monies through the casinos that we noted earlier were fined for their lack of Anti-Money laundering controls.
Ivankov’s trips to Trump casinos in Atlantic City echo those trips by John Gotti associate Robert Libutti. Gotti ran the Gambino crime syndicate. Libutti laundered huge sums of cash through Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in the decade prior to Ivankov’s sorties to Atlantic City. Libutti has since passed away. Ivankov was gunned down in the streets of Moscow in 2009 after running a hugely profitable criminal enterprise in the States for Mogilevich.
One connect of interest here is the fact that Yaponchik partnered with Yevgeny Dvoskin a childhood friend of Felix Sater when growing up in Brooklyn. Later, Dvoskin ran a Russian bank at one time called GenBank wherein according to Catherine Belton’s epic opus Putin’s People, he partnered with Ivan Myazin and more importantly, secretly partnered with FSB General Ivan Tkachev — Head of FSB’s Directorate K — responsible for FSB’s financial activities and also known to be closely allied with Igor Sechin.
One Russian closely allied with Mogilevich by the name Vadim Trincher, via his wife Elena, purchased Unit 63A in Trump Tower from Russian oligarch Oleg Boiko(Boyko) who had personally purchased it via a shell company, possibly Finstar, from Donald Trump. Trincher brought in Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov(aka Taiwanchik) a long-time Russian gangster to run a large-scale global gambling operation. Boiko was involved in the gaming business in St. Petersburg with the above-referenced Mikhail Mirilashvili. According to the Oleg Boyko website, Boyko owned a restaurant nightclub on Bolshaya Nikitskaya St., in Moscow with Petr Aven already referenced, along with Arkady Murashev ex Moscow Police Chief, and Aleksei Golovkov(Gaidar’s former chief of staff).
Boyko, referenced repeatedly earlier, also was the head honcho of a Payday lending scheme in Russia that had tentacles that reached into the U.S. Boyko is alleged to have partnered this scheme with Yury Provkin son of Russian oligarch Igor Provkin both of whom are listed in the ICIJ database as connected to offshore shell companies. ICIJ associates Yury Provkin with a BVI shell company called Luntime Limited with a Moscow address. Igor is listed in something called Willcom Corp. based in the Seychelles but registered in the British Virgin Islands and linked to Russia — as a beneficiary along with Molly Rita Roselie a likely nominee beneficiary owner.
Tokhtakhounov — who worked for Michael Cherney in Europe in the mid-nineties, masterminded two gambling rings from Unit 63A according to law enforcement, that provided a laundromat of an estimated $100 million out of the former Soviet Union through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investment in the US. Police rounded up 29 suspects in an April 2013 raid on Unit 63A, but not Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who somehow slipped away. He was next spotted by authorities in the VIP section of the Miss Universe contest in Moscow in November 2013 sitting just a few seats away from the Donald.
We have noted an association between Michael Cherney in the above narrative with several notorious Russians including Taiwanchik and various oligarchs e.g. Deripaska, Makhmudov, Leviev, and ROC figure Anton Malevsky. We can also associate Cherney with the Rueben brothers and their money laundering vehicle Trans World Metals that moved millions through a multitude of offshore vehicles. But we can’t move on without referencing the association between Sam Kislin and Michael Cherney. Kislin translated for Cherney in Europe. Kislin was purported to provide mortgages and other funding for Russian immigrants including some who bought or rented from ‘the Donald.’OCCRP has associated Kislin as an acquaintance of Aleksandr Angert the Mafia crime boss of Odesa who we have already identified as a likely client of the Belgian money laundering services of Seabeco and Alexander Mashkevich.
Kislin was a political contributor to Rudy Giuliani in several of Rudy’s political ventures and election campaigns. Kislin was also alleged to be an investor in Trump Soho with an assortment of colorful characters well chronicled elsewhere.
Another ROC figure who resided in Trump Tower and allegedly ran a gambling ring is Anatoly Golubchik. The Panama Papers connect shell companies run by Semion Mogilevich — Arigon Overseas and Arbat Capital to the same address as the Golubchik run shell called Westix Ltd. It should also be noted that Golubchik and Mogilevich’s second wife — Galina Telesh share the same nominee shell company Director by the name Stanley Williams who is listed as a Director in dozens of companies including Lytton Ventures and Barlow Investing Ltd. Williams interestingly enough is also listed as a Director of an offshore entity called Potok Energy Limited which is another story for another day.
Just to tie a ribbon on this piece, it should be noted that Taiwanchik and Golubchik referenced above as associated with Trincher and running an international gambling ring out of Trump Tower, also ran a shady air transport company in Florida called Monarch Air wherein U.S. Customs seized a sizable quantity of cocaine. During Taiwanchik’s trial, AUSA Joshua Naftalis stated the defendants(Trincher&Golubchik), were using Monarch “to funnel money and drugs on behalf of the Russian Mafia.”
This trio ran several air transport companies along with a Russian-born individual by the name of Jacob Gitman. One such company listed in Open Corporates called Sky Way International Holding Inc., lists Jacob Gitman, Vadim Trincher, and Anatoly Golubchik as officers. Boruch “Bob” Freedman — an air transport pilot with flying experience in Ukraine, invested in Monarch in 2011. OCCRP suggests that Freedman was likely introduced to Monarch and therefore the gangsters Trincher and Golubchik by his uncle — Alexander Mashkevich. Oh my.
Subsequent to the above, the Feds ran an investigative operation termed Operation Chokepoint into how banks and other non-bank financial institutions could work with such shady activities as payday lending and online gambling that carry high risks of fraud. After Donald Trump became President Operation Chokepoint was shut down.
Perhaps that was only a coincidence.
Lebanese born Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja was a friend of George Nadar and associated with UAE. Khawaja ran a company called Allied Wallet which guided dubious companies past the gates of the American banking system as APNews reporters Jake Pearson and Jeff Horwitz put it in a piece dated 8/2/18. Khawaja had contributed over $4M to Hillary Clinton. Not his best bet. Perhaps he should have consulted Oleg Boyko’s PokerStars. Perhaps he did…
Two weeks after Trump clinched the Presidency, Khawaja had lunch with Nadar’s old friend Elliot Broidy. Of course he did. As Pearson and Horwitz described, within days of that lunch, Khawaja met Trump at a $5K per person transition fundraiser in Manhattan. Soon after, Khawaja contributed $1M to Trump’s Inaugural Committee and yes he got his picture taken with ‘the Donald.’https://apnews.com/article/north-america-mo-state-wire-ma-state-wire-new-york-il-state-wire-a151466e96b04199b2e731f8c9ad479b. No word on whether he was seated with Mashkevich, Grinshpun or Parnas.
It wasn’t long after — Operation Chokepoint was choked off.
That sure looks like a quid and a quo but so far there is no woe.
Potential Investigative Steps
Some of the investigative steps needed here to pursue the Money connects outlined above, with potential Tax and Money Laundering charges, would involve obtaining records of the Foreign Agent Registration Act(FARA) from DOJ. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act(FATCA) documentation should also be requested from the IRS, which has been provided by foreign banks maintaining accounts overseas for American taxpayers. Tax returns should also be obtained to ascertain whether undisclosed foreign bank accounts were maintained by such American taxpayers as Elliott Broidy, Ronald Lauder, Leonard Lauder, Michael Cohen, Bryan Cohen, Felix Sater, Jack Rosen, Eric Prince, Donald Trump Jr., Thomas Barrack, Bennett LeBow, Howard Lorber, David Bonderman, Rich Gerson, and George Nader.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network(FinCEN) is an agency of the US Department of Treasury. FinCEN databases should be queried with regard to potential Foreign Bank Account Records(FBARs), Wire transfers, Suspicious Activity Reports(SARs), Cash Transaction Reports(CTRs), and Currency and Monetary Instrument Reports(CMIRs) relative to any of the above who have acknowledged foreign business dealings. Also available at FinCEN are Forms 8300 which are Reports of Cash Payments received in Trades and Businesses which are required to be filed by Trades and Businesses who receive over $10,000 in payments.
Relevant data derived from FinCEN’s Geographic Targeting Order aimed at large anonymous cash purchases of luxury Real Estate in NYC, Miami, and Los Angeles should be scrutinized and correlated with other pertinent available data e.g. Tax returns, for viable leads material to Money Laundering. Identified foreign bank and business records should be requested via DOJ MLAT treaty agreements which will likely take a great deal of time.
Cooperation should be secured from Nader, Broidy, Cohen, Barrack, Giuliani, and possibly others referenced above, via plea agreements and testimony with regard to Russian collusion and/or interference in the 2016 Presidential election and potential Sanctions circumvention. Money laundering and Tax Evasion statutes should be researched for potential violations. Testimony and documentation should also be secured for any potential foreign political contributions made via concealed shell companies and offshore accounts. Major political fundraisers such as Elliott Broidy and Thomas Barrack should be required to testify extensively before a Grand Jury to ascertain what, if any criminal misdeeds they and their connections, offshore and on, conducted.
One important update to be noted — Tom Barrack has in fact been indicted in NY for FARA violations. Barrack’s company First Colony was indicted for corporate tax fraud charges in Italy. Fruman has pleaded guilty to brokering illegal foreign political contributions. Barrack first introduced Kushner to Emirati Ambassador Otaiba in the Spring of 2016. Otaiba then introduced Kushner to MBZ the head honcho of UAE. It was Barrack that bought up Kushner’s debt with regard to his property at 666 Fifth Ave., Manhattan. And it has been reported that Barrack’s company has received some $7Bn investments since Trump was first nominated for President. Barrack’s companies reportedly received a quarter of that sum from either UAE or Saudi Arabia. So to has Kushner and former Secy. of Treasury under Trump — Steve Mnuchin cashed in on their Administration contacts and opened up multi-billion dollar investment firms concentrating on investments from Saudi Arabia and UAE. Let us recall that this piece started by noting that Broidy was introduced to MBZ by Nadar. While it is popular nowadays to say that all roads lead to Putin, it would be wise to pause and consider that at least some avenues go through MBZ and UAE — perhaps others through Kazakhstan and Israel. And yes, many of the vehicles on these roads include offshore shell companies or corporations in a box or briefcase or a pouch.
Law enforcement used to think in terms of means and opportunity which it is believed has been outlined in this narrative.
What about motive? Ask Bob Mueller.
Ex post facto factoid — It should be noted just how many Russian oligarchs and ex government officials AND their money relocated to Dubai after the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. Dubai is located within the cozy environs of UAE and is considered by most Financial experts to now be one of the main money laundering centers in the world.
Dormant investigations in the USAO-SDNY need to be re-energized pertaining to Deutsche Bank — Money Laundering; Beny Steinmetz — FCPA violations; Hapoalim Bank — facilitation of Tax Evasion via maintenance of undisclosed foreign bank accounts maintained in Israel. A follow-up to the DOJ subpoenas issued to Glencore is also in order along with the development of the testimony of the SDNY cooperating witness in that expanding investigation. Re-open Operation Chokepoint anyone? Address domestic money laundering by non-bank financial institutions involved in micro finance e.g. payday lending scams, ghost loan repayment frauds, gambling rackets et al or might such an action threaten valuable political contributions?
Also — how about passing much needed legislation to combat the Enablers of offshore money laundering by crooks and oligarchs both domestic and international? Enablers such as Law Firms, Accounting firms, Financial Consulting firms, Hedge funds et al that move the money of, and for the wealthy in stealth fashion.
Brian Benczkowski was approved by the Senate in a slim majority vote to head up the DOJ Criminal Division despite never having prosecuted a criminal case. He has been the Chief of Staff for AG Jeff Sessions, however. The resignations by Associate Deputy AG Scott Schools, the most senior attorney in the DOJ management structure in Washington DC, and Lisa Zornberg, the Chief Criminal section of USAO-SDNY, are/were disheartening. These significant DOJ personnel actions do not bode well for the future of the above noted dormant cases and investigative operations.
Connected financial dots have gone glow-in-the-dark quantum now, clearly being identified and some curious associations revealed. Can some of our pertinent quantum dots now be turned into Dominoes and testimony compelled to obtain a successful prosecution outcome?
Bob Mueller’s team did not follow the money. Some compelling money trails have now been identified. Do either SDNY and/or EDNY have the means to follow up where Mueller stopped? Does the will to prosecute exist throughout the DOJ?
We will see…
Retired Supervisory Special Agent IRS Criminal Investigation
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